The Business of IT

Questions for OpenStack leaders

I’ll be moderating a panel of OpenStack leaders next week at the OpenStack Israel 2013 event in Tel Aviv. Last year’s OpenStack Israel event was excellent, and this year’s gathering looks like it will knock it out of the park. Over 350 people are already registered for the conference, and the two days of technical training following the conference are already full. If you’re in the area you shouldn’t miss this conference. And make sure to introduce yourself to me as well.

In preparation for next week’s event I’ve been formulating tough questions to ask the OpenStack leaders. So far I’ve received great suggestions from Nati Shalom, Randy Bias, and George Reese. Here are some of the questions I’ll put to the panel:

  • How committed are you to ensuring compatibility of OpenStack clouds across different providers? What about between versions?
  • Why is it so difficult to operate OpenStack in practice? How do you plan to address this?
  • Is OpenStack the code or is it the APIs?
  • Public cloud providers are naturally incentivized to differentiate by adding proprietary features to their services, thereby increasing lock-in. Doesn’t this pressure to differentiate conflict with OpenStack’s mission to create multiple, interoperable clouds? And, doesn’t this pressure towards fragmentation undermine the value of OpenStack as an alternative to the Amazon Web Services ecosystem? What do you plan to do about this?
  • What existing systems are being replaced by OpenStack implementations?
  • For the vendors among you (e.g. IBM, HP), how do you plan to make money from OpenStack?
  • Why is OpenStack Foundation membership so expensive? What’s wrong with following the model provided by the Apache Foundation? Is the high barrier to entry in the Foundation really necessary?

Do you have a question you’d like to hear the OpenStack leadership address? Let me know, and I’ll report back on their answers.

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